June 28, 2007 10:31 AM
Bob Schieffer’s New York musical debut with Honky Tonk Confidential Wednesday night was a big bold-faced blast that benefited the Walter Reed Society and made a good case for buying the group’s fourth album, “Road Kill Stew and Other News,” which features some songs written and sorta warbled by Mr. Schieffer.
Despite debilitating heat that knocked out power on the Upper (and higher) East Side long enough to snarl surface and subterranean traffic, and thunderstorms, the performance space at Hill Country, an new Austin-style barbecue spot in the Flatiron District was packed. Packed.
Tom Brokaw was there. NBC News President Steve Capus was there – but his off-again-on-again earring wasn’t. He good-naturedly blamed last-minute notice from Mr. Brokaw for that fashion omission. OMGreppi equally good-naturedly suggests that if he’s not going to wear his earring every day, he should keep a spare in his desk drawer at "30 Rock" for just such occasions.
Because if there ever were a night on which to throw off your tired old dress codes, this was it.
Mr. Schieffer started the evening in a perfectly creased white shirt, jeans (and a belt he’d hand-tooled in school) and boots and a pristine white hat but switched to a genuine Texas Christian University blue-and-gold football jersey – No. 70 in honor of his age.
The triangles of gold at the neckline and the sleeves, poufed to allow for shoulder pads when needed, added up to a sort of ornamentally edgy outlaw look that Mr. Schieffer pulled off quite well.
At the Schieffer family table with wife Pat: one New York Times reporter and one unemployed gossip reporter; “48 Hours Investigates” executive producer Susan Zirinsky, husband Joe Peyronnin and their 11-year-old daughter Zoe; Andy Rooney; and not-so-retired former CBS network president Gene Jankowski (who loosened and then finally doffed his tie).
Elsewhere in the crowd: agents Richard Leibner and Steve Sadicario; “Early Show” anchor Harry Smith and sportscaster wife Andrea Joyce; “Good Morning America” executive producer Jim Murphy (who worked often with Mr. Schieffer during the years he was executive producer of “CBS Evening News”), “Sunday Morning” executive producer Rand Morrison and humorist Bill Geist (working on a Schieffer piece); and vocalist Phoebe Snow.
As OMGreppi was leaving, Victor Neufeld, Paula Zahn’s executive producer and newsman about New York, was heading back in after having checked on his rain-dappled Vespa.
A good time was definitely had by all, y’all, especially during Mr. Schieffer’s performance of the classic-to-be “TV Anchorman.”